The Red-Blue Moon

It was Bright clear evening of January, and we were gather at BalBhavan for AAAV’s regular sunday session.

“Guys! This Blue moon day, the moon will turn Red!”, I started my new topic for Members.

Before I finish my statement, people start reacting…

“Are you joking?”-Nagardas bhai.
“Is this new superstitious thing?” – Atman
“Are you talking about New social media hoax roaming around?” – Prakash

“Wait!, wait!, wait, I am explaining you…” I try to control situaion.

Let me first ask you “What is Blue Moon?”

A deep silence! for a while.

I continue my talk..”Well! when in a single calendar month 2 Full moon occures, 2nd full moon of that month known as Blue moon, it is not actual Blue in Colour.”

This month on January 1/2 it was Full moon and on 31st also it is Full moon, so on 31st it is 2nd Full moon of the month, so it will known as Blue moon.”

“Ok! Now i Understand, But, What about The moon will turn Red?” Atman reacted.

“On 31st January 2018, There is Total Lunar Eclipse, First Eclipse of year 2018, It will be visible in large parts of US, northeastern Europe, Russia, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific, and Australia.
In our Vadodara Moon Rise during Toatlity Phase of Eclipse we can not see 1st Part of Eclipse but we can see totality to End of Eclipse, during totality Moon will Turn in to Red Colour, so just add some Fasination to Event I called This Blue moon, Moon is goint to turn red” I explain.

Silence and some Fasination seen on faces..

Prakash Broke the Silence, ” But, why Moon will turn Red during totality? Why it’s Not totally disapper from sky?

“Very, good Question.” I replied and continue “the reason why the Moon takes on a reddish color during totality is a phenomenon called Rayleigh scattering. It is the same mechanism responsible for causing colorful sunrises and sunsets and the sky to look blue.”

“We all know from our school science textbooks that even though sunlight may look white to human eyes, it is actually composed of different colors. These colors are visible through a prism or in a rainbow. Colors towards the red spectrum have longer wavelengths and lower frequencies compared to colors towards the violet spectrum which have shorter wavelengths and higher frequencies.”

“When sunlight entering the Earth’s atmosphere strikes the particles that are smaller than the light’s wavelength, it gets scattered. Not all colors in the light spectrum, however, get equally scattered. Colors with shorter wavelengths, for example those towards the violet spectrum, are scattered more strongly than those with longer wavelengths like red and orange, which pass through the atmosphere. This light then gets bent or refracted back to the surface of the Moon and gives it the reddish-orange glow that total lunar eclipses are famous for.”

“The Moon can take on different shades of red, orange or gold during a total lunar eclipse, depending on the conditions of the Earth’s atmosphere at the time of the Eclipse. The amount of dust particles, water droplets, clouds and mist can all have an effect on the shade of red. Volcanic ash and dust in the atmosphere can also lead to the Moon turning dark during an eclipse.”

“Hope, you have all your questions answered?” I conclude my Information.

An amazed faces with little smile on faces, but still some silence.

I continue to add some more facination amongst all “well, let me tell you one more amazing thing about this eclipse, if you look really hard right at the beginning and just before the end of totality, you may detect a light blue or turquoise band on the Moon’s face. This happens because the Earth’s Ozone Layer scatters red light and lets through some of the blue light that gets refracted to the Moon.”

The Red-Blue Moon!, That is what my topic of discussion for todays meet, and real focus point of This Total lunar eclipse of 31st January 2018

“So team, let’s Jointly watch this amazing and some what Rare Phonomena, Lunar Eclipse is not such rare but Total Lunar Ecplise on Blue Moon day is Rare, in fact we get a chance to see Red-Blue Moon on Blue moon day”

All start Clapping, and talking internally to plan their observation schedule.

Nagardas bhai who was quite from some time asked,”What is our agenda for this event? and how we are planning to observe and popularizing?”

“We The Amateur Astronomers Association of Vadodara has tie up with Gujarat Nature conservation society vadodara and Balbhavan vadodara for public observation and scientific study of event at GNCS Observatory , Nature education park, sindhrot vadodara.”

“During the event we set up few telescope for public viewing, photography and data collection of event, along with telescope viewing we do live webcasting on both GNCS and AAAV website and we have plan to do Facebook live on our page. There is also exhibition of information. We all member of AAAV and Volunteers of GNCS will handle all this activity on that day from 5pm onwards”

“It sounds great project to work together to make it successful” Nilesh bhai replied.

After all this discussion we all jointly start working on event planning.

Let’s hope for clear skies!!

Author: Bhargav Joshi

Image credit: Total Lunar Eclipse of 10th December 2011 Totality phase by Bhargav Joshi.